Russia World Cup Safety Brief

World Cut 2018: Russia

Russia is hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup from June 14 to July 15. Thirty-two teams will play 64 matches across 11 cities: Kaliningrad, Kazan, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saransk, Samara, Sochi, Saint Petersburg, Volgograd, and Yekaterinburg. Russian authorities expect approximately 500,000 to 1 million foreign visitors, making for a crowded 30-day stretch.

Security for the World Cup will be organized and carried out by military, federal, and local Russian security forces. Visitors can expect a massive security presence, similar to the recent Olympic Games hosted by Russia in Sochi. While this is a much larger and wider-ranging event, Russia has significant experience hosting large international events and has invested significant resources into ensuring a safe and secure tournament.

Events like the World Cup and Olympic Games are seen as prime platforms for protesters, activists, and terrorist organizations. Threats from anti-government protesters and Islamic State terrorist cells based in the Caucuses present the most "real" risk of disruption to the World Cup.

Bomb Threats

Since September 2017, a series of anonymous telephonic bomb threats have occurred in hundreds of urban centers across the country, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan, and Yekaterinburg. Such threats have lead to evacuations at schools, gymnasiums, shopping centers, subway stations, airports, cathedrals, city courts, banks, and hotels. These bomb threats have all turned out to be hoaxes, and while common, are still taken seriously.

Anticipated Security Measures:

  • Airport-style screening for spectators with X-ray equipment and metal detectors (wands and machines)
  • Physical pat downs and bag searches
  • Security forces in full riot gear
  • Anti-ram/anti-intrusion systems and perimeter barricades

Terrorist Threat

  • There is moderate risk of terrorist attack in Russia during the World Cup.
  • The Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist groups may target Russia during World Cup for two main reasons:
  • High-profile nature of the event and likelihood of mass casualties
  • Russia's involvement in the Syrian conflict against ISIS fighters
  • Authorities remain concerned with possible increase in foreign fighters returning from Syria as ISIS loses territory.
  • Due to increased pedestrian population during the World Cup, a vehicle-ramming attack is a primary concern for Russian security forces

Electronic Surveillance & Cyber Threats

  • Visitors to Russia for the World Cup should maintain no expectation of privacy while using any electronic device. All communications and data usage are subject to surveillance by the state.
  • Avoid bringing electronics such as laptops or phones with sensitive information on them, and instead utilize temporary burner phones or devices.
  • Travelers to the World Cup are at risk of cyber espionage campaigns carried out by state actors, as well as targets for malicious cyber criminals attempting.
  • The risk of infection, compromise, and theft via malware, spam email, sophisticated spear phishing, and social engineering attacks is significant.

Soccer Hooliganism

  • Violent soccer hooliganism is defined as disruptive or unlawful behavior in connection to soccer matches and can include planned fights between opposing fans, vandalism, and violent behavior.
  • While violent, sometimes extremist hooliganism is common in Russia at the club level, it is far less common during international tournaments.
  • As a result of violence erupting between Russian and English fans at the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France, Russian authorities have taken proactive security measures to prevent fan violence.
  • At the World Cup, Russian authorities will deploy an elaborate identification card system that will restrict stadium access to registered ticketholders. The FAN ID system is designed to detect spectators with previous convictions of racism, pyrotechnic use, or violence.

Global Guardian will be closely monitoring the World Cup, pulling data from trusted news sources, social media accounts, and our local vetted security partners to provide constant updates to our 24/7 Global Operations Center.

Contact us below for any travel security needs during the World Cup or for any other requirement.

Sources: OSAC Report on Russia World Cup

About Global Guardian

Global Guardian is a provider of world-class security solutions, custom-tailored to the individual needs of its global client base. The company offers an integrated suite of best-in-class security services that help clients identify and mitigate the risks of traveling and doing business both overseas and domestically. These services include personnel tracking, emergency response, security and transportation support, intelligence and due diligence medical support and transportation, emergency and custom aviation, cyber security, and video surveillance monitoring. Global Guardian seamlessly integrates as many of these capabilities as needed and delivers them 24 hours a day under the close guidance of its Operations Center.

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